PhD position on Personality, Well-Being, and Family Trajectories in Young Adulthood

PhD position on Personality, Well-Being, and Family Trajectories in Young Adulthood

Published Deadline Location
7 Jul 15 Aug Tilburg
The Departments of Developmental Psychology, Sociology, and Methodology at Tilburg University are looking for an enthusiastic Phd student on the project ‘Going Against the Norm: Links between Personality, Well-Being, and Deviating Family Trajectories in Young Adulthood’.

Job description

Project description
Across the last decades, young adults’ experiences of family transitions, like leaving the parental home, cohabitation, and the transition to parenthood, have diversified in Western societies. The heterogeneity in the timing and order of these transitions has increased, and it is not uncommon that transitions are delayed or skipped entirely. For example, there is an increase in the number of young adults living alone, and in the proportion of individuals who, by choice or involuntarily, do not have children. The increasing heterogeneity goes together with changes in societal norms about what is considered appropriate - ‘off-time’ and ‘on-time’ - at certain ages.

The relaxed norms related to adulthood have opened up the potential for individual dispositions, such as personality, to play a more focal role in shaping people’s family trajectories (e.g., partnering or not). At the same time, family trajectories can trigger changes in personality and well-being. According to theories on personality and well-being, people who follow a normative sequence of family transitions (e.g., getting married before having children) might show more positive personality change (e.g., increases in conscientiousness) compared to people who deviate from this path. Yet, many young Dutch people in contemporary cohorts deviate from these normative pathways. The proposed project aims to understand what happens in these contemporary cohorts when individuals do not follow the family trajectory that is “normatively prescribed”. By combining insights from family sociology, personality psychology, and methodology, our goal is to the provide the most complete picture of the interplay between family trajectories and psychological development in young adulthood to date. We focus on two research questions:

  1. Which demographic, social, and psychological (e.g., personality) variables predict who deviates from the normative occurrence, order, and timing of family transitions (e.g., moving out of the parental household, moving in with a partner, and having children)?
  2. Do deviations in occurrence, order, and timing of family transitions relate to differences in how young adults develop, in terms of personality and well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, loneliness, self-esteem)?

For all papers, the PhD student will use representative longitudinal data. The amount of within-person longitudinal data on demographic changes and psychological development have been accumulating across the last decades but has not been used to its full potential. The underuse of these data can to a large extent be attributed to the fact that analyzing such datasets requires rather specialized statistical knowledge and skills. The analysis of complex longitudinal data and clustering techniques are a crucial part of this project. We will particularly focus on the rich data available in the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) panel, and where needed supplement the LISS panel with our own questionnaires.

Job description
The PhD project is part of a collaboration between the Department of Developmental Psychology, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Methodology, funded by The Herbert Simon Research Institute at Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The first two years, the PhD student will work at the Department of Developmental psychology. After two years, we will discuss whether the PhD student will join either the Department of Sociology or the Department of Methodology. 

Responsibilities are: 

  • Planning and executing data collection, independently conducting complex longitudinal data-analyses (e.g., latent growth curve modelling)
  • Active participation in the team involved in this project and in the Departments (e.g., by attending departmental meetings)
  • Writing international scientific publications 
  • Presenting at national and international scientific conferences and disseminating findings to a non-scientific audience (e.g., policy makers and mental health care professionals)
  • Teaching and supervision (e.g., supervision of bachelor theses and POP groups, max 0.2 FTE)

Specifications

Tilburg University

Requirements

Job requirements and qualifications of the candidate
We look for a highly motivated, inquisitive, enthusiastic, proactive, and result-driven PhD student. Applicants must have a relevant MSc degree (preferably a research master), for example in developmental, personality, social or organizational psychology, sociology, or in social/health sciences. 

  • Interest in conducting high-quality research on family transitions and psychological development
  • Interest in open science and preregistration
  • Excellent research skills and data analytical abilities, including in-depth knowledge of statistical programs (e.g., SPSS, Mplus or R) 
  • Interested in learning and applying less standard and more advanced statistical methods
  • Excellent project management and organization skills 
  • Excellent communication and cooperation skills and the willingness to work in a team 
  • Proficiency in English (Dutch is a plus but not necessary)
  • Interest in providing small-scale education, such as working groups and bachelor thesis supervision 

Conditions of employment

The PhD candidate will be employed by Tilburg University, which is among the top of the Dutch employers and has an excellent policy concerning terms of employment. The appointments are intended to lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The PhD appointment begins with a period of 12 months. Continuation of the appointment with another 36 months will be based on performance evaluation. The gross salary for the PhD position amounts to € 2.541,- per month in the first year, rising to € 3.247,- per month in the fourth year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week).

Employer

Tilburg University and the Department of Developmental Psychology

Tilburg University is a modern, specialized university. The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB) has an inspiring working environment that challenges its employees to realize their ambitions; involvement and cooperation are essential to achieve this.

Tilburg University offers a bachelor’s and several master’s programs in psychology, including the research master “Individual Differences and Assessment” and “Social and Behavioral Sciences”, and a bachelor’s and master’s program in HR Studies.

For more information about the Departments of Developmental Psychology, Sociology, and Methodology please visit: 

Additional information

Information concerning the vacancy
The PhD student will be supervised by Dr. Manon van Scheppingen (Department of Developmental Psychology), Dr. Katya Ivanova (Department of Sociology), and Prof. Dr. Jeroen Vermunt (Department of Methodology).
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Dr. Manon van Scheppingen (M.A.vanScheppingen@tilburguniversity.edu). 

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 20538

Employer

Location

Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg

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Application procedure

Applicants should send their CV, official grade list, and a cover letter including a description of the motivation (a sample paper and/or the MSc or BSc thesis are optional) to drs. Wietske van Zwol, Managing Director, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, by the link mentioned below. 

The closing date for applications is August 15. Preferred starting date is October 1st. The interviews will take place in the week of September 12, per video call if needed. 

Application procedure

Application procedure

Applicants should send their CV, official grade list, and a cover letter including a description of the motivation (a sample paper and/or the MSc or BSc thesis are optional) to drs. Wietske van Zwol, Managing Director, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, by the link mentioned below. 

The closing date for applications is August 15. Preferred starting date is October 1st. The interviews will take place in the week of September 12, per video call if needed. 

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Aug 2022 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).